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Chairman discusses high school issue

The Reminder is making its archives back to 2003 available on our website. Please note that, due to technical limitations, archive articles are presented without the usual formatting.

The Reminder is making its archives back to 2003 available on our website. Please note that, due to technical limitations, archive articles are presented without the usual formatting.

There is a general agreement among Creighton and Denare Beach residents to establish a high school program at Creighton Community School, in the view of Creighton School Board Chairman Terry Brown. But Brown stressed in the same breath that a decision won't be reached until after a public meeting is held next month. "I feel that there is a consensus out there that we move to a high school," he said, "but to me, if there is an overwhelming amount of people, especially parents who have children going to our school, that are totally opposed, I think the decision is rather easy to make. If there is overwhelming support that we move to a high school, then the decision is easy to make that way also." The school board has tentatively scheduled meetings for the second week of December with staff, students, parents of students, and rate-payers of the Creighton School Division. Brown said a decision on the potential high school will be made by January 15 at the latest. If the board implements the new grades, grade 10 would begin at the school in September of 2004, with grades 11 and 12 to following in 2005 and 2006 respectively. A task force assembled by the school division has released a report concluding that it is feasible to add grades 10, 11 and 12 to Creighton Community School. The report projects a number of benefits from the move, including annual savings of some $300,000 and local control over the high school program. About 130 Creighton and Denare Beach students attend high school in Flin Flon, and the loss of those pupils would cost the Flin Flon School Division some $910,000 in annual funding. The Creighton School Division pays the Flin Flon side about $7,000 for each Saskatchewan student attending classes at Hapnot Collegiate (about 90 students) and Many Faces Education Centre (about 40 students). Brown said enrollment at Creighton Community School continues to drop and that without a high school program, the board will eventually have to sacrifice funding from the kindergarten to grade 9 program to continue sending high schoolers to Flin Flon. "If you've got empty spaces in your school and you want to raise taxes because we still have the kids going to Flin Flon, I think people are going to ask us a lot of questions," he said. A common criticism that Brown and his board have faced from some Flin Flon residents is that the potential move to a high school is motivated solely by finances. "Education is always about the money," he said in response to that suggestion. "If you do not have the money, you cannot run a good educational program." A number of Flin Flon residents, including authors of letters published in The Reminder, fear that the loss of the students would have a negative impact on the quality of education for local high school students. And while Flin Flon education authorities admit they would have to cut high school programs and staff due to the loss of the Saskatchewan students, Brown believes students on both sides of the border would continue to receive a good learning experience. See 'Issue' P.# Con't from P.# "I think Hapnot has an excellent staff. Yes, they will lose some staff members, but their system will survive and be a good system," he said. "I don't think education will suffer. I think on the Creighton side, our K-9 system is an excellent system and it would just continue on. You hire quality teachers and you will have a quality program." Brown, a member of the school board since the late-1970s, said it's unfortunate that the high school concept has been somewhat of a divisive issue for residents. "People have to understand that this isn't about Creighton versus Flin Flon or anything like that," he said. "This is strictly an issue that has to do with the viability of our school down the road."